RTP – Innings

The Return to Play Guidelines include Innings or Phases that we will be abiding by and will only be moving forward through once we have approval from Softball BC. There are no specific dates attached to any Inning, as of yet.

The focus for Softball BC is to allow players to return to softball activities while respecting all Provincial health guidelines. This means that in the immediate term, those activities will be restricted to practice and skill development sessions, first for U10 players and above, and then for players in the Learn to Play age groups. Softball BC understands that games and
competition are a huge part of softball and is committed to allowing a return to game play for teams in U10 and above once Provincial Health Authorities and Softball BC determine that it is safe to do so. This phasing plan does not include dates for return to game play since we do not yet know when that will be. It may also be that some areas or LSOs may be in a position to return to game play sooner or later than others.

TIMELINE: no earlier than June 10, 2020
LSOs and participants are to follow the Facility and diamond protocols above, plus:
• No more than 50 per diamond or as per the guidelines for attendance as outlined by the respective Municipality. Please take into account shared spaces as well as entrances and exit requirements.
• Frequent hand santizing or washing must be scheduled.
• Controlled practices and skill development will take into account minimizing shared use of equipment and maintaining physical distance wherever possible.
• Water bottles and food items are not to be shared.
• No spitting, sunflower seeds or gum allowed.
• Where possible, each player should have their own personal equipment, including batting helmets, bats, catchers gear, etc.
• Where personal equipment must be shared, the equipment must be thoroughly sanitized between each use. When players are sharing a bat it should be picked up by the barrel and sanitized by the Sanitizing Champion before being used by the next player.
• A minimum amount of people should be responsible for setting up and taking down all equipment for a session.
• Practice plans should consider a minimal number of participants handling the same ball.
For example, when possible, catching and throwing drills should be done in pairs only and the balls sanitized by the Sanitizing Champion after each drill.
• Coach must have a current EAP (emergency action plan) outlining, in the event of a minor or major injury, what the medical treatment process will be. The safety of all participants is top priority, but whenever possible, must be done with the requirements of COVID-19 transmission being minimized.
• Each team must appoint an ‘In Charge Person’ (Injury Attendant), and if an injury occurs to a player only the coach and In Charge Person, both wearing protective gloves and face coverings, may go the injured player. Everyone else must maintain physical distancing.
• Bleachers should be closed or used only in a way that physical distancing is maintained.
• Under no circumstances will there be games or scrimmages.

TIMELINE: no earlier than June 17, 2020
All participants are to follow the Facility and Diamond protocols above, plus:
• No more than fifty (50) people per diamond or as per the guidelines for attendance as outlined by the respective Municipality. Please take into account shared spaces as well as entrance and exit requirements.
• Groups of no more than 10 participants and one household member each permitted in the designated practice area.
• Every participant must be accompanied by a responsible person over the age of 16 who is prepared to practice with the participant throughout the season.
• Programme facilitator will maintain physical distancing with the participants and oversee the skill development sessions.
• It is recommended the season be made up of a 12 session, 6 week programme
• Skills will focus on physical literacy
• No shared use of equipment, each participant to supply or be supplied with their own session equipment.
• Any LSO equipment loaned to players should be sanitized before being put away.
• Under no circumstances will there be games or scrimmages.
• Each participant is to have their own water bottle and food items, no sharing.
• Facilitator will be responsible for ensuring planned sanitation breaks and hand cleaning.
• Coach/Facilitator must have a current EAP (emergency action plan) outlining, in the event of a minor or major injury, what the medical treatment process will be. The safety of all participants is top priority, but whenever possible, must be done with the requirements of COVID-19 transmission being minimized.
• Each team must appoint an ‘In Charge Person’ (Injury Attendant), and if an injury occurs to a player only the coach and In Charge Person, both wearing protective gloves and face coverings, may go the injured player. Everyone else must maintain physical distancing.

TIMELINE: no earlier than July 1, 2020
LSOs and participants are to follow the Facility and Diamond protocols included in Inning 1 (except to the extent that they conflict, in which case these Inning 3 protocols apply) above, plus:
• Games will be scheduled with teams from the same community as defined by the viaSport sport sector guidelines and Softball BC
• No more than 50 per diamond or as per the guidelines for attendance as outlined by the respective Municipality. Please take into account shared spaces as well as entrance and exit requirements.
• Bleachers should be closed or used only in a way that physical distancing is maintained.
• Teams may only use players on their approved roster, no pick ups are allowed, and teams may play with as few as 8 players without being penalized. LSO’s are encouraged to coordinate to ensure that teams have enough players to field a full team regardless of their home LSO.
• Line up cards must be prepared, but will not be physically shared – photos may be taken by scorekeepers, etc. and the lineup card must be made available to show the umpire when requested.
• Pre game meetings will take place at home plate while respecting distancing of at least 2 metres. Only one coach per team and umpire (s) to attend the meeting.
• Schedules are recommended to be drawn up to allow for time to prepare the venue before a game and clean it after the game has ended.
• All participants are to leave the playing field immediately after the game has ended. No team meetings at the venue post game.
• No team huddles before, during or after the game.
• No handshake with the opposing team/officials after the game.
• Each team must appoint a Distancing Monitor who will observe their own team & spectators and encourage them to maintain physical distancing.
• Each team must appoint an ‘In Charge Person’ (Injury Attendant), and if an injury occurs to a player on that team, either the umpire or coach will call time and only the coach and In Charge person – both wearing protective gloves and face coverings – may go to the injured player, everyone else must maintain physical distancing.
• Face coverings for virus contagion are recommended for all participants; coaches must have face coverings easily accessible to them and must wear them anytime they cannot maintain physical distancing from other participants.
• Face coverings for virus contagion are mandatory for home plate umpires, provided that should an umpire be unable to wear a face covering due to an underlying health issue or breathing/overheating concerns, the home plate umpire has the option of calling the game from behind the pitcher’s circle as an alternative to wearing a face covering.
• Due to breathable air quality concerns about physical exertion while wearing face coverings, it is recommended that face coverings be removed when physical distancing can be maintained (for example when their team is on offence), and that players be switched out or given breaks after wearing face coverings for prolonged periods.
• Should a player need to leave the field during play due to breathing concerns associated with wearing a face covering, any player on the bench may replace the removed player and not be counted as a substitution leaving/re-entering the game.
• It is recommend that all participants bring back up face coverings should their original face coverings come off and fall in the dirt when removing their helmet.
• No person should pick-up or handle anyone else’s helmet/face covering.
• The umpire is not to handle any equipment other than their own during a game including game balls.
• Defensive team will sanitize the ball for their team during the game. Balls should be routinely rotated and santitized. The pitcher/catcher will call time and the ball will be given to the Sanitizing Champion to be sanitized, The Sanitizing Champion will throw in a sanitized ball in exchange.
• Offensive coaches are to remain a minimum of two metres away from 1st and 3rd base at all times, regardless of where it may locate them on the diamond (as long as it doesn’t increase the danger to a coach’s personal safety).
• Between pitches, the umpire is to move 2 metres away from the catcher, and the batter is to move 2 metres away from the catcher. Once the play is ready to resume, umpire and batter move back into position, and umpire signals play ball.
• Coach to umpire, player to umpire and umpire to umpire conferences will be done with a two (2) metre distance at all times, unless all participants to the conference are wearing face coverings in which case the conference may be done at normal distance.
• Coach, pitcher and catcher may have a defensive conference at the pitching circle, with a two metre distance being observed by all participants, unless all participants to the conference are wearing face coverings in which case the conference may be done at normal distance.
• Offensive team conference may be held with a two metre distance being observed by all participants, unless all participants to the conference are wearing face coverings in which case the conference may be done at normal distance.
• Teams are to maintain physical distancing while off the field of play, with players in designated spots as appropriate in the ballpark. Spectators will maintain physical distancing, along the sides of the diamond, behind the backstop or in the outfield as appropriate to the layout of the ball park.
• No player may lick their fingers during softball activities. Pitchers may use pitching rosin and/or gorilla rags at all levels. If a player does lick their fingers while on the field, the player must leave the game and may only return to the game after they have sanitized or washed their hands with soap and water. Any player on the bench may replace the removed player and not be counted as a substitution leaving/re-entering the game.
• At the conclusion of a play at a base or bases, the batter/runner and defensive player should separate and establish appropriate distancing again as soon as possible. Umpire may assist in this by verbal reminder.
• On deck batter may only have one bat for warm-up.
• When an at-bat has finished, if the batter struck out or was put out prior to reaching first base, the batter will pick up their own bat and carry it back to the dugout, where they either hand it to a Sanitizing Champion or return it to their personal equipment bag. If the batter reaches base, their bat will be picked up by the barrel by the on-deck batter and handed to a Sanitizing Champion for either sanitizing or return to the original
batter’s equipment space.
• All players must sanitize their hands when returning to their dugout at the end of each half-inning.
• Participants and spectators are to leave the playing field and park immediately at the conclusion of the game.
• Next team to play on that diamond will not step onto the diamond until all members of the previous game’s team have left the area.
• Coach must have a current EAP (emergency action plan) outlining, in the event of a minor or major injury, what the medical treatment process will be. The safety of all participants is top priority, but whenever possible, must be done with the requirements of COVID-19 transmission being minimized.

TIMELINE: To be determined
LSOs and participants are to follow the Facility and Diamond protocols below, as well as those included in Phase Three (except to the extent that they conflict, in which case these Inning Four protocols apply), plus:
• Home team to set up the diamond and communicate entry/exit points to visitors, as well as any other protocols being observed at that park.
• Visiting team will be directed to spectator and participant areas which have been adequately marked off and idfentified for spectator seating, or participant equipment storage.
• Where possible, a minimum of two umpires should be used for games to assist in physical distancing.
• Participants are to follow Inning 3 protocol.
• Coach must have a current EAP (emergency action plan) outlining, in the event of a minor or major injury, what the medical treatment process will be. The safety of all participants is top priority, but whenever possible, must be done with the requirements of COVID-19 transmission being minimized.
• Each team must appoint an ‘In Charge Person’ (Injury Attendant), and if an injury occurs to a player only the coach and In Charge Person, both wearing protective gloves and face coverings, may go the injured player. Everyone else must maintain physical distancing.

TIMELINE: To be determined
LSOs and participants are to follow the Facility and Diamond protocols below as well as those included in Inning 4 (except to the extent that they conflict, in which case these Inning 5 protocols apply), plus:
• No more than 50 per diamond or as per the guidelines for attendance as outlined by the respective Municipality. Please take into account shared spaces as well as entrances and exit requirements.
• Game times are to be staggered to ensure there is an unencumbered pathway to enter and exit the facility.
• Participants and spectators are to leave the field immediately after the conclusion of their game/event.
• Medals/prizes are not to be handed out individually, but a closed box handed to a team representative.
• If appropriate home team to set up the diamond and communicate entry/exit points to visitors, as well as any other protocols being observed at that park. If it is a tournament, then the hosting club will have diamonds set up under the park/venue and diamond preparation, and it will be the responsibility of the host to communicate with visiting
teams about the protocols to be followed at each specific park or Facility.
• Visiting team, or in the case of a tournament, all away teams attending the tournament will be directed to spectator and participant areas which have been adequately marked off and identified for spectator seating, or participant equipment storage.
• Where possible, a minimum of two umpires should be used for games to assist in physical distancing.
• Coach must have a current EAP (emergency action plan) outlining, in the event of a minor or major injury, what the medical treatment process will be. The safety of all participants is top priority, but whenever possible, must be done with the requirements of COVID-19 transmission being minimized.
• Each team must appoint an ‘In Charge Person’ (Injury Attendant,) and if an injury occurs to a player on that team, either the umpire or coach will call time and only the coach and In Charge Person – both wearing protective gloves and face coverings – may go to the injured player, everyone else must maintain physical distancing.


Please note that these Guidelines are current and in accordance with the Provincial Health Guidelines and Orders in place at date of their issuance but may be updated should circumstances change or should relevant Guidelines and Orders be revised.